Is backup care worth the investment?

Backup child-care, elder-care programs face trials of logistics, costs, usage
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/06/2009

KPMG has been offering backup child care and elder care to its 5,000 employees for more than two years. The Toronto-based accounting and consulting firm pays an annual fee, and top-ups to hourly fees, to guarantee care is available if needed, while employees pay for usage, for up to 80 hours of care per year.

“It’s a way to facilitate and help (employees) manage the demands of their work and personal life,” says Geri Markvoort, director of total rewards at KPMG. “It differentiates us and it’s particularly pertinent for our demographic.”

Employees rest easy knowing there is support in case of an unexpected illness or after-hours work, and KPMG is seen as a supportive employer helping with work-life balance. But only about five per cent of KPMG’s workers have taken advantage of the program and the target was 10 per cent, says Markvoort. So the company plans to look into the issue further with employees and the backup care provider.